As the coalition negotiations enter the final stretch, Likud-Beytenu, Habayit Hayehudi and Yesh Atid have reportedly come to an agreement to raise the election threshold to 4 percent, in the interest of sustainable governability.
Israel’s election threshold – the minimum percentage of votes a party must get to be represented in the Knesset – is currently set at 2%. The number of seats a party receives in the Knesset is proportional to the number of votes it receives in the elections.
Raising the election threshold to 4% would mean that parties failing to attract enough votes to elect at least five Knesset members would be left out of the Knesset.
According to the Likud-Beytenu, the move would force the smaller parties to unite in order to avoid being excluded from the Knesset, which would reduce their ability to exercise “political extortion” during negotiations.
In addition to raising the election threshold, Likud-Beytenu, Habayit Hayehudi and Yesh Atid are also considering moves to reduce the number of government ministers to 18, starting with the 20th Knesset – the next term.
Another move that is being considered in the interest of governability is raising the minimum majority vote needed for a no-confidence vote, which spells the dissolution of the Knesset, from 61 to a special majority of 70 MKs.
The legislation for raising the election threshold will be promoted as a government bill, based on a private bill presented by Likud-Beytenu MK Danny Danon.
“The low election threshold has created multiple small parties, some of which have only a minor impact in the Knesset as it is,” Danon said.
“The current threshold has also created a false representation of politics, by suggesting that it is an easy thing to cross. There are many parties that try to get elected to the Knesset and fail to meet the election threshold, and in such cases, the voters are not duly represented in the Knesset,” he said.
Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On, who opposes the move, said, “This ‘new politics’ is an expression of the majority’s tyranny and an attempt to stop minorities from growing into majorities. Meretz has and will continue to oppose the raising of the election threshold. A threshold of 2.5 mandates is high enough. This move will prevent the representation of various sectors in Israeli society.”
Ra’am-Ta’al MK Ahmad Tibi said: “I don’t understand the nature of this proposal, which clearly targets primarily the Arab parties. We support a united Arab list that should run under a joint ticket in the elections, but a higher election threshold must not be imposed on the smaller parties.
Read more at ISRAEL HAYOM.